A PIECE OF HEAVEN

NAPOLI
NAPOLI
NAPOLI
NAPOLI

COSTIERE E AREA FLEGREA

NAPLES

unescoThe writer Norman Douglas described with passion very special sea currents which in the Mediterranean sea, are constantly moving towards the Campania: those currents also took with them the remains of the mermaid called Parthenope, until the place where Naples would have born.

quartieri spagnoliFrom the panoramic street “via Petrarca”, to Posilippo and from the noble heart of today’s metropolis, the blue currents ripple the contours of  what is both a guache and a novel: the near and far contours of Ischia, Procida, Capo Miseno, Capri, the Sorrentine peninsula; and the “postcard” of the Vesuvio, the urban labyrinth revealed by the eastern tours of the city, the palaces, the monuments and the churches of a huge old town with its fortified offshoots, from the “Certosa di San Martino” (Charterhouse of San Martino) and the Castel Sant’Elmo to the Maschio Angioino (Castel nuovo), to the Castel dell’Ovo (“Egg Castle”). The contemporary traveler’s imaginary is lost in the alleyways, after having crossed Piazza Plebiscito, slightly touching the Royal Palace, the San Carlo theatre, and via Toledo,  aiming to the surprising green spaces of Capodimonte, the gardens, the parks of Posilippo and the yellow tuff cliffs. The moving photography of a “seaside town with inhabitants”, emblematic definition of Luigi Compagnone, tells the story of a mermaid finally adult and Europan who found in her sea, the impulse to feel the “crossroad” of progressive routes. Naples is linked to the world, with the help of the incredible creative, handmade, classy,  non holographic heritage of the “Neapolitan style” which has crossed the borders.  It is the sign of an originality which does not renounce, however, to reflect on the reconquered seafront with its well-known beaches and the evening walks in Mergellina. Last but not least: the mandolin and the serenade; and, of course : the coffee, the “sfogliatella” and the “babà”, celebrating the best pizza ever. Beyond the stereotypes, time in Naples is not always the same, and the quick changes is the sign of an activism that we can clearly notice in the versatility of the universities of humanistic culture and scientific research, in the literary excitement and in the artistic impulse showed in the stations of the new subway, and in the modernity of the classical style kept by theatrical, musical and worldly events.

The heart of Naples

The birth of the city dates back to the first half of the 5th century BC. At that time, Cumae, which has become the most important Greek colony on the coast after the transfert of the Chaldicians and the Eretrians who had settled in Pithekoussai (Ischia) moved its expansionist aims towards the south-east, giving life to the new city : ”Neapolis”. In fact, an older center was enlarged, “Palaepolis”, already inhabited by Rhodes people. The link with the large island of Aegean refers to myth of the foundation and the arrival of the remains of one of Ulysses’ enchanting mermaid, whose name was, in fact, Parthenope.

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The essential itinerary cannot fail to have as a starting point the Piazza del Plebiscito, which is specially defined by the semi-elliptical portico of the Church of San Francesco di Paola and by the Royal Palace on the main sides; on the smaller sides, Palazzo Salerno and Palazzo della Prefettura stand out, while in the adjacent Piazza Trieste e Trento there is the Church of San Ferdinando which completes a monumental circuit of the area with the San Carlo Theatre and the Umberto I Gallery.

The Church of San Francesco di Paola, with a central plan with a dome recalling to the Pantheon’s one in Rome, was built between 1817 and 1846 as an ex voto for the return of Ferdinand of Bourbon to the throne of Naples, after the Napoleonic uprisings: an imposing sign of a rediscovered power. It dominates the Piazza del plebiscito on which the bronze equestrian statues of Charles III and Ferdinand I overlook.

quartieri spagnoliThe Royal Palace is the symbol of the Spanish greatness and it was built on a design by the great architect Domenico Fontana, in a strategic place, not far from the port and in front of a perfect flat space for military parades and large gatherings of people. It was 1600 and two years earlier Fernandez Ruiz de Castro was appointed Naples viceroy by Philip III. The main facade (169 meters long), the courtyard and part of the interiors keep the seventeenth-century layout, but over time numerous modifications took place, under the bourbons and until the Napoleonic period with Joachim Murat, for over two-hundred years, with the involvement of other well-known architects such as Luigi Vanvitelli and Ferdinando Fuga. In 1734, Naples became the capital of the Kingdom of the two Sicilies and Ferdinand IV gave a strong impulse to the completion of the palace by building a Court Theatre, created in 1768 by Ferdinando Fuga, and the eastern arm, which is used as a National Library since 1927. Walking through the Throne Room, the Ambassadors Room, the Royal Chapel, you enter in a context of eighteenth-century splendor: furniture worked by Neapolitan ebonies, decorations, carpets and tapestries of French manufacture and of the Naples Royal Tapestry, paintings of the sixteeeth and the seventeenth century and works from the Caravaggio period, porcelain, furnishings and artistic artifacts of absolute value.

Connected to the Royal Palace, there is the beautiful San Carlo Theatre, the oldest opera house in the world, built by the will of Charles of Bourbon and inaugurated on 4th of November 1737, the day of his name day. The project was drawn up by the architects Medrano and Carasale. A masterpiece. A fire devastated it in 1812, but it was rebuilt by Antonio Niccolini, who equipped it with 70 meter deep circular shafts to improve the acoustics. The first Italian dance school was founded there and hosted many of the first performances of important works by Rossini, Verdi, Bellini, Donizetti. It can host 1380 spectators.

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In front of the theatre, there is a traditional gathering point, the Umberto I Gallery, which evidences, with its cross plan, a Neo-Renaissance structure typical of the late Nineteenth century: in fact, it refers to the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery in Milan. In the centre, there is a dome 56 meters high, while the four arms are surmounted by barrel vaults. The polycromatic marble floors with a central exedra represent the zodiac signs and the cardinal points.

At the exit, you enter via Toledo, which separates the port area from the Quartieri Spagnoli (Spanish Neighborhoods), the checkerboard housing unit which stretches up to the hill of the Vomero. Here the viceroy Pedro de Toledo placed the quarters of the Spanish army and today, in a jumble of picturesque alleys, among unique popular atmospheres, there is a slice of the Neapolitan identity.

But to proceed towards the unmissable itinerary in the immense historic centre of Naples, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, you need to reach the Piazza del Gesù Nuovo: it is the beginning of the heart of the Greek-Roman city, in a maze of streets and alleys which form perfect rectangular networks. The three Roman decumans cross with the hinges. Here Spaccanapoli starts, which is the rectilinear succession of Via Benedetto Croce, via San Biagio dei Librai and via Vicaria Vecchia.

Piazza del Gesù is characterised by the Spire of the Immacolata with, on the top, the statue of the Virgin: it was built in 1747 with the funds of a public collection promoted by the Jesuit Francesco Pepe. It has a rich decoration, an example of Baroque splendor which simbolised the religious power of the Jesuit order. The Jesuits, moreover, had purchased the fifteenth-century Sanseverino Palace, transforming it between 1584 and 1601 into the splendid Church of Gesù Nuovo. The Baroque portal incorporates the sixteenth-century one in white marble, which stands out against the grey background of the characteristic diamond-tipped ashlar facade of 1470. It is a Greek cross plan church with three naves and it is a triumph of Baroque style and culture, among polychrome marbles and frescoes such as the Francesco Solimena ones on the counter-facade: The expulsion of Heliodor from the Temple. The interiors were set up with the contribution of the major artists of the time active in Naples: in addition to Solimena, Luca GiordanoCosimo FanzagoBelisario Corenzio and many others.

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A few meters away there is another place among Naples most fascinating ones: the Monumental Complex of Santa Chiara with the basilica and the monastery which was among the first to be built in the historic centre. The Angevin sovereigns at the beginning of the fourteenth century assigned it to house the family tombs. You can access the church courtyard, a splendid example of Provençal Gothic, through an imposing fourteenth-century portal, while the bell tower keeps the original Gothic forms which are inside the basilica, completely restored after the fire and the effects of the bombings of 1943. Twenty chapels (ten on each side) overlook the single nave of the church while at the centre of the presbytery there are the remains of the tomb of the literate king Robert of Anjou (it was the largest medieval funeral monument). The Choir of the Nuns was decorated in 1328 by Giotto (only few fragments are preserved): from here you access the garden and the famous majolica Cloister of the Clarisse, a work from 1739, by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro, creator of the decoration of the seats with majolica riggiole (Neapolitan dialect term for “tiles”) signed by Donato and Giuseppe Massa: scenes of the fields and seascapes are depicted that intersect harmoniously with the vine shoots and lemons of the pergola, in a triumph of colors between blue, green and yellow. The Museum of the Opera of Santa Chiara preserves objects, sculptures and decorative elements of the Franciscan small city: it was obtained from the remains of a Roman thermal building from the first century.

From Via Benedetto Croce, you can find shops, workshops, in a succession of colours and perfumes and deep sensations, very modern, young and ancient together. On the way, you can see Palazzo Filomarino, the scenes of clashes and destruction during the Neapaolitan revolution of 1799. Don Benedetto Croce lived and died in the palace. He was one of the greatest voices of Italian culture of every era.

Piazza San Domenico Maggiore is defined by a choir of noble palaces : Palazzo Casacalenda, Palazzo Petrucci, Palazzo Corigliano, Palazzo Sangro di Sansevero. The Spire of San Domenico Maggiore is a crucial point of reference: it was built after the plague of 1656 in Baroque style (it is a work by Fanzago and Vaccaro)

San Domenico Maggiore is one of the most important churches for its antiquity and artistic wealth. It was frequented by Saint Thomas of Aquinas, Giovanni Pontano, Tommaso Campanella and Giordano Bruno. Built between 1283 and 1324, it has been restored several times, In the sixteenth century the Dominicans, with their erudite tradition, introduced the teaching of Greek, civil law and canon law to what had become the seat of the university. The main entrance of the church consists of a fourteenth-century portal inserted between two Renaissance chapels, while the interior with three naves with side chapels has Neo-gothic decorations superimposed in the mid-nineteenth century to the sixteenth century ones. It houses works by Luca GiordanoMattia PretiFrancesco SolimenaPietro Cavallini.

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Hidden in an alleyway, there is the famous, small Sansevero Chapel, which houses the works, the alchemies and the creations of the brilliant Raimondo di Sangro, Sansevero Prince, writer, man of letters, inventor and experimenter, as well as a being a great master of the Masonry: he restructured the family sepulchral chapel in 1710-1770 following a complex symbolic iconography. The statues of Veiled Modesty, of the Disillusionment and the sculpture of the famous Vailed Christ by Giuseppe Sammartino has an exceptional mysterious charm.

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Beyond Piazzetta Nilo close to the university area, via san Biagio dei Librai remembers a centuries-old history of typographies and print houses which animated cultural life. You can enter among stands and small shops, touching palaces such as Monte di Pietà and Palazzo Carafa; looking at the ancient convent of Saints Severino and Sossio (later State Archives of Naples) which at the end of the sixteenth century housed Torquato Tasso, until you cross San Gregorio Armeno, the rutilant nativity street, the gigantic outdoor corks exhibition, wooden and papier-mâché models which during Christmas time becomes a synthesis of the Neapolitan tradition. The market of the shepherds is the most colored and original in the world. The Church of San Gregorio Armeno, with the monastery, also deserves a meditated visit: the first nucleus is from the 8th century on the remains of a Pagan temple. The renovation is of 1580.

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The plan of the church is with a single nave, the carved wooden ceiling is only one of the many artistic aspects of absolute importance that you can admire inside. The frescoes of the counter-facade are by Luca Giordano and represent the story of the Armenian nuns, the founders. In the fifth chapel there are the relics of Santa Patrizia , a much venerated saint by Naples people: she is one of the patron saints of the city and every Tuesday the miracle of the liquefaction of the blood is repeated.

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Going up, you arrive at the central Decumanus, via dei Tribunali, and you must stop at the Church of San Lorenzo Maggiore: it is here that on 30th of March 1336 Boccaccio met his Fiammetta, Maria d’Aquino at that time, Robert of Anjou’s daughter. Charles I of Anjou had it built from 1226 and was finished in 1324, but it was modified several times. The magnificent shapes of the interior, in terms of height width , are typical of the French Cistercian Gothic: a triumphal arche separates the nave from the transept. The excavations in the cloister have brought to light the Greek, Roman and Medieval stratifications. In the refectory hall, Neapolitan deputies and municipal authorities gathered, and the place became known as Tribunal of San Lorenzo.

We have to remember that the whole area corresponds to the acropolis of the Greco-Roman city and the thousand-year-old housing elements are still visible almost everywhere, between Early Christian basilicas and medieval churches superimposed.

From the nearby and close Piazza di San Gaetano, you access the Underground Naples, the excursus in the bowels of the city (the other entrance is in Piazza Trieste and Trento), an enveloping and fascinating trip among mythes, legends and much more, in a labyrinth of tunnels, cisterns and cavities which extends under the whole historic centre, for several kilometers.

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Not far away, the Church of the Souls of Purgatory in Arco, at the intersection with via Nilo and via Atri, is a landmark in the proteiform circuit of popular devotion: for the women of the neighborhood, Blessed Lucia, who is venerated here, is the symbol of fertility. The church dates back to 1616, when it was built for the suffrage of “restless “souls. The decoration with skulls and crossbones together with hourglasses is of Spanish taste: a symbology of anthropological interest is linked to the reasons of interest of the Church of San Pietro ad Aram and the cemetery of Fontanelle alla Sanità. The Baroque works of art are noteworthy.

Further, there is the Complex of San Pietro a Maiella which houses the glorious Music Conservatory, one of the illustrious in Italy. It boasts an extraordinary specialised library among the mort important in the world for the autograph materials.

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From the nearby Piazza Bellini, we move to port’Alba, the chosen place for bookstores, up to Piazza Dante. Or you can chose to continue along Via Costantinopoli (with its antique shops) until you reach the National Archaeological Museum, among the cultural boasts of the city and among the absolute most important for the classical antiquity, not only in Europe. Through an exceptional series of finds, from the pre-roman Campania to the testimonies of the Magna Grecia, from the important Egyptian section to the testimonies of Pompeii, to the extraordinary Farnese collection, an unforgettable historical itinerary takes place. The Meridiana Hall and the Secret Cabinet with the collection of erotic themes of Roman era are a must-see.

On the large main street of Via Forio, moving towards the Albergo dei Poveri (Poor Hotel) with the imposing façade signed by Ferdinando Fuga, you can observe the monument wall of the Botanical Garden. It was established in 1807, with a decree by Giuseppe Bonaparte, as the Royal Garden of Plants: it is connected to the University and is very rich in collections and species.

Returning back to Via Tribunali, choosing to continue eastwards, you reach  Pio Monte della Misericordia, among the oldest institutions of assistance and charity the city founded in 1602: it houses a rich collection of art works in the Art Gallery and, especially, in the church, the Seven Works of Mercy, the canvas of large dimensions which Caravaggio painted between 1606 and 1607. The church has an octagonal plant, with seven altars surmounted by as many frescoes which refer to the corporal works of mercy.

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A fundamental diversion is the one leading to the Cathedral (Duomo). It was built in Gothic-provençal style and included the early christian cathedral of Santa Restituta and the Baptistery of San Giovanni Fonte of the 4th century. Inside, the splendid mosaic by Lello da Orvieto with the Madonna and Saints Gennaro and Restituta: it is from 1322. The facade of the new cathedral is Neo-Gothic, but the portals are form the fifteenth century; in the central lunette there is the Madonna and Child by Tino da Camaino. It is a Latin cross plan with three naves, and it is a real art gallery, a representation, in fact, of the thousand-year old stratifications of the city. The Minutolo Chapel is considered one of the most interesting examples of Gothic in Naples (the floor is mosaic with animals). The Royal Chapel (Real Cappella) of the Treasure of San Gennaro was built following a vow offered by the city to the patron saint after the plague epidemic of 1656. A Baroque masterpiece: here are kept the ampoules with the blood of San Gennaro, in an extraordinary contest of sacred decorations, silver, candelabras and reliquaries, and the fourteenth century bust studded with precious stones, which is exhibited in May and in September during the blood liquefaction ceremony. The frescoes of the dome are by Giovanni Lanfranco; the ones of the vault, of the lunettes and the hackles are by Domenico Zampieri also known as il Domenichino. The oil on copper on the median altar representing San Gennaro who comes out of the furnace unharmed is by Jusepe de Ribera. Near the chapel, a must-see is the Museum of the Treasure of San Gennaro, an exhibition of jewel collections, sacred furnishing, artistic fabrics, statues and paintings of very high historic and artistic value. The silver collection is of particular interest, with pieces from 1305 to the contemporary age, all Neapolitan masters works.

With an ideal jump we move to the seafront of Chiaia. Among aristocratic palaces and art galleries, trendy shops and glimpses of elegance, is is marked by the Villa Comunale, a green oasis, which was the Bourbon Royal Palace wanted by Ferdinand IV who asked Carlo Vanvitelli to design it. It its the first public garden in Naples, inaugurated in 1781: a Royal Villa with pines, palm trees and eucalyptus trees, between Neo-Classical busts and fountains, on a path which, in the centre, sees standing out the Art Nouveau structure of the glass and cast iron sound box. The Anton Dohrn Zoologic Station, with the oldest Aquarium in Europe, is a centre of studies and research of international standing. It was founded in 1872 by the German naturalist Anton Dohrn, who intended to divulgate the knowledge of its marine flora and fauna.a.

If you choose to continue in the “salotto buono” of Naples from Piazza San Pasquale, you go for shopping in Via dei Mille (where there is the Pan : the Palace of Arts of Naples in the eighteenth century Palazzo Roccella), Via Filangieri and Via Carlo Poerio up to Piazza dei Martiri, with a halo of alleys rich of art and design galleries, designer and antiquary shops.

If you continue on Riviera di Chiaia, on the seaside, however, there is the unmistakable Neo-classical facade of Villa Pignatelli, surrounded by a beautiful garden: inside the Prince Diego Pignatelli Cortes Museum is housed, while in the stables there is the Carriage Museum.

The promenade along the seafront continues to Mergellina with its touristic port, which is the “gateway” to the Posillipo hill, suggestive and made universal by the works of the famous nineteenth-century landscape painters of the Posillipo School. From the noble parks of the area there are several prestigious villas such as Villa Rosbery, the residence of the President of the Republic; Villa Pierce, the Donn’Anna Palace of the seventeenth century, an unfinished work by  Cosimo Fanzago. A must-see, then, is the descent to the mythical hamlet of Marechiaro, a fishing village connected by a series of hairpin bends: here there is the mythical “finestrella” which remembers the song by Salvatore Di Giacomo. Finally, the village of Casale is also characteristic, and dates back to the thirteenth century, with its typical squares and alleys.


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SHOPPING

Shopping in town offers a fantastic gallery of many talents and masters of manual skills, with objects, characters and places of worship famous around the world. What about, for example, tie makers, with their seven-fold ties with remember tales and future myths; and then the tailors and the shirt makers, the artisans of gloves, shoes, bags and jewellers, the great booksellers and the antique dealers, artists, inventors and creators of a little bit of everything, including shops, workshops, show-rooms which are like “handmade” temples, and they represent a universe that the noblest Naples continues to showcase in a whirlwind of fantastic brands and new names, tomorrow top labels.

In the medieval Naples, on the trail of Cavallini

The first step is in one of the most beautiful sacred buildings rich in art works and historical testimonies of the city, San Domenico Maggiore, the mother church in the Kingdom of Naples of the powerful Dominican order. Charles II of Anjou strongly wanted it and the construction took place between 1283 and 1324 in Gothic style.

On the square which has taken its name from the church, there is the polygonal apse faces and, on the left, at the top of the wide staircase, the ancient church of Sant’Angelo a Morfina, incorporated into the Basilica, with the elegant fifteenth-century porta. The main entrance of the church of the church of San Domenico Maggiore acts as a backdrop to the internal courtyard of a building overlooking Vico San Domenico and retains the fourteenth-century portal with polychrome marble bands, narrow between two Renaissance chapels and covered by an eighteenth century pronaos. The original Gothic forms were lost in the Seventeenth-century Baroque remakes and attempts were made to restore them with the restorations of Federico Travaglini between 1850 and 1853,, but the profusion of colored stuccoes and gilded moldings betray a neo-gothic taste which does not allow the reading of the original and authentic characteristics of the imposing architectural complex.

The interior, on the other hand, has kept the fourteenth-century Latin cross plan, with three naves with chapels along the aisles and on the sides of the presbytery.

It is in the second chapel on the right that it is possible to admire the work of Pietro Cavallini in the frescoes requested from him during his Neapolitan period by the Brancaccio family. The artist illustrated the space with the Stories of Saint John the Evangelist, Saint Andrew and Mary Magdalene. The frescoes have come back to life for a few decades, after a long oblivion, and they represent a fundamental element to know and deepen the work of the Roman School master.

It is worth remembering how in the Sacristy of the church, dominated by the vault frescoed by Francesco Solimena, the so-called arches of the Aragonese have been kept for centuries, forty-five coffins covered with velvet in which the Aragonese kings and some of the most illustrious figures of the kingdom were buried a during their domination. Among these, the brave Ferrante d’Avalos, author of the aragonese victory in the famous battle of Pavia and beloved nephew of the governor Costanza d’Avalos, married to Vittoria Colonna in the Cathedral of the Aragonese Castle of Ischia on 27th of December 1509.

Another representative place of Cavallini’s work and his pupils in Naples is the church of Santa Maria Donnaregina. The first news on a convent of nuns with the title of “San Pietro del Monte di Donna Regina” dates back to the beginning of the 8th century and, therefore, the domination of Donnaregina is probably linked to the name of the owner of the land on which the convent stands. The oldest edifice of the church suffered serious damages by the earthquake of 1293, so it was by the will of Queen Maria of Hungary, wife of Charles II of Anjou, that the monastery was re-founded. And in fact, her mortal remains were buried in a large funerary monument, located on the left wall of the nave, which was created by Tino da Camaino, the greatest sculptor of the time.

The construction of the church was completed around 1315, in an original Gothic style. The building, with a single nave, had a choir of nuns located on four cross vaults spans, for nearly half of the length of the same nave. That part of the church was reserved for the cloistered nuns of the adjoining convent, who, from there, attended the religious services.

The interior of the church was originally completely covered by frescoes, of which traces remain in every corner of the building. The frescoes bear the unmistakable imprint of Pietro Cavallini and his pupils. More particularly the decoration of the nave with Pairs of Characters from the New and Old Testament, the Last Judgement on the counter-facade and the Stories of the Passion on the left wall of the choir.

However, all the fourteenth-century frescoes, including the Cavallini’s ones, were severely damaged by a fire, caused by a lighting in 1390. The heat generated by the flames erased the most superficial layer of the paintings and changed considerably the colours of what was still visible.

The traditional Art of the Neapolitan "Pizzaiuolo" since 2017 - World Heritage

AAA 7907 2Originally, it was only a flat bread seasoned with different ingredients, according to the availability. But the simple mix of water, flour, yeast and salt has become the basis of one of the most famous foods and appreciated in the world only thanks to the production techniques and improved abilities of the Neapolitan “pizzaoioli” over centuries. Their unique mastery handed down from generations to generations, due to its particularity and for the cultural value that is has acquired over time, it has been recognised by the Unesco, which in 2017 inscribed the Traditional Art of the Neapolitan "Pizzaiuolo" in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

It had started from Naples, eight years earlier. The candidacy had started eight years earlier. It was the one which, among the various ONU awards, recorded the number of supporters at international level. Precisely two million people, from over one hundred countries, had signed the #pizzaUnesco petition, landed on the table of the 12th Unesco intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of Intangible cultural Heritage, reunited on the island of Jeju, in South Korea, from 7th to 9th of December, 2017. The 24 members, representing as many Countries, unanimously voted positively with the following motivation: «The culinary know-how linked to the production of pizza, which includes gestures, songs, visual expressions, local slang, ability to handle the pizza dough, perform and share is an indisputable cultural heritage. The Neapolitan “pizzaioli” and their customers are involved in a social ritual in which the counter and oven are used as a “stage” during the pizza making process. This process happens in a convivial atmosphere with constant exchanges with customers. Starting from the poor neighbourhood of Naples, the culinary tradition is deeply rooted in the community’s daily life. For many young professionals, becoming a “pizzaiuolo” is also a way to avoid social exclusion.».

The cultural significance of the pizza “phenomenon” has been decisive in the opinion of the Committee in the city where a tradition was born and has developed that has no equal in any other part of the world, although it is now widespread worldwide. This is testified by the international use of the word “pizza”, among the most known and used in the world, accepted without a translation in sixty languages.

The various steps in the manufacturing process have been recognised as deserving a particular protection, each one characterised by the wealth of knowledge it requires, by the particular and ritual gestures, by the use of specific terms, by the ability learnt and the individual creativity which accompanies it and, last but not least, for the exchanges, the interactions and the relationships that it creates, due to the fact that the preparation of the pizza has always taken place in front of those who are the final recipients. Born in the streets of Naples historic centre and in the “slums”, traditional pizza, even when the production moved pizzerias and restaurants, remained rigorously on display, with the full sharing of the public, every time involved in a sensorial experience pleasantly shared.

The pizza masters, the pizzaiuoli and the bakers are the authors of magic that is repeated every time, according to the three different categories, identified for their ability and experience. They are the ones who divide the roles in the four production steps characteristic of the Neapolitan pizza recognised by Unesco. The first is the phase of shaping the dough ball, which takes the name of staglio, and must be done by hand, cutting the single dough from the strips of risen dough according to the technique also used for mozzarella. Then, after the second leavening, we proceed to the ammaccatura (denting), which means that the dough is rolled out by hand to create the crust that must be of one of two centimeters, and thin the central part that must not exceed a quarter of a centimeter. The manipulation of the disc of dough happens with skillful and quick gestures, called schiaffi (slaps) and it is a particular way of Neapolitan pizzaiouli.

Then, there is the dressing. The ingredients must be spread out from the center with a clockwise spiral movement. We start with the tomato sauce and we end with the extra virgin olive oil, poured from the specific agliara, a copper container with a long and thin spout, to ensure a thin and continuous drizzle of oil.

The last and very delicate phase is cooking in a preheated wood oven already warn, at a temperature between 430 and 480 degrees. The pizza is inserted with a square wooden or aluminum shovel. During cooking, which lasts between 60 and 90 seconds, with a smaller round iron shovel, we quickly rotate it, the so called “mezzo giro” (half turn), to ensure the uniform cooking on each side.

An ancient art, which is renewed every time that it is shown, communicated and handed down to the new generations of pizza makers. The masters work for this goal in their “workshops”, in the Renaissance meaning, which is precisely the period when the art of Neapolitan pizza started to take the first steps of an evolution that culminated in the 19th century. When Pizza Margherita was created, the most Italian in colours and inspiration, but also the most famous and enjoyed in the world. With the oldest Marinara, the basic speciality of the true Neapolitan Pizza.Che, con l’apertura della prima pizzeria a New York nel 1905, partì alla conquista del mondo. Since then, the “pizza” has known innumerable reinterpretations and variations, of shape and taste, in line with the gastronomic cultures of other populations and the ingredients of the different territories. But the Art of shaping, tossing, dressing meticulously and cooking to perfection, in one and a half minute, the mother Pizza of all variations is practiced, lived, shared and communicated only in Naples.

THE ANTON DOHRN ZOOLOGICAL STATION AND THE AQUARIUM OF NAPLES

The zoological station of Naples is a scientific excellence of international level and a precious point of reference in order to understand the relationship between the city and its sea. And it is also the creature of Anton Dohrn, to whom it is named, one of the most interesting characters of the nineteenth-century scientific panorama. among the first supporters of Darwinian theories when those hardly managed to assert themselves in the official scientific worlds.

Born in 1840 in Szczecin, in Pomerania (region which later passed to Poland), Anton Dohrn belonged to a family who became rich with his grandfather Heinrich, owner of sugare refinery. A wealth condition which allowed his father, Karl August, to dedicate himself to his cultural passions, especially music, but also the entomology that made him famous, forming a friendship with the most famous scholars of the time, which was useful to Anton later. The young Anton didn’t have, at the beginning, very clear ideas about his future and undertook, without great conviction, medicine and zoology studies in Bonn, Berlin and Koenigsberg. He put a first milestone in his life in 1863, at the University of Jena, where, coming across Charles Darwin’s work, he was so conquered by it that he decided to continue the study of zoology and dedicate himself to demonstrate the validity of the Darwinian theory. And convinced that the answers were found in the sea, in which life found its origin, he chose to carry out some marine zoology research on the island of Helgoland. A disciple of Ernst Haeckel, an expert authority, he made other study trips to Scotland and on the occasion of one of those, he projected and built with his colleague David Robertson, a prototype of a portable aquarium to carry the organisms to study.

In Italy, the coveted destination of many men from Northern Europe, arrived for the first time in 1868, with Messia as a destination, the city where Haeckel sent all his students for research periods on the Mediterranean. And to be able to go to Messina, you had to embark in Naples, therefore the city of Parthenope was for Dohrn the first real impact with Italy.

Those travel experiences for study reasons gave Dohrn an intuition which would have marked his life: build all over the world a network of zoological stations, where researchers would have been able to stop for long periods and carry out their work, having everything they needed available. A sort of science staging post at the service of science. That idea was perfected in Berlin, where he thought that if they combined with the zoological stations of the aquariums open to the public, with the cost of the tickets it would have been possible to subsidise networks of facilities and the scientific research. And to start giving life to his project he chose Naples, after having initially thought of Messina. Not surprisingly, because at the time, it was in 1870, the Campania city had 500 thousand inhabitants and hosted 40 thousand tourists per year, which was a respectable number, which could haver represented an ideal public for the aquarium, and, therefore, lifeblood for the zoological station.

Therefore, he moved to Naples, where he lodged in Torlonia Palace in Mergellina, and he started the construction of the building on a land in the communal Villa in Chiaia which the Municipality had given him free of charge, accepting favorably is ambitious project. In 1873, the first nucleus of the Zoological Station was finished and it was right on the sea. But it didn’t last long because three years later, Via Caracciolo was built, and the sea moved away of few tens of meters.

Dohrn’s Neapolitan station immediately opened the doors to scholars from all over the world, to whom it offered ideal working conditions, also due to the equipment available. But above all for the total freedom recognised to them, since the fundamental rule of the Station was the respect of research freedom. And that principle remained unchanged and fully current nowadays at the Neapolitan institute of research.

The influx of researchers was already so considerable in those first years that it was necessary to soon extend the building, which was started in 1888. In 1905 the large courtyard was built and the library in 1958, reaching the final configuration of the large structure. Inside which, an enormous aquarium had been built from the beginning, with very advanced characteristics from a technologic point of view, due to the fact that Dohrn himself invented a system of tanks fed by sea water with a continuous replacement, which allowed a normal life to the animals. And the aquarium of Naples is the only one still open which has kept unchanged its original structure.

In the management of the Station, Dohrn showed extraordinary organisational and managerial capacities, so much so as to represent ante litteram the figure of the scientific manager. To raise funds to make the Station work, he used the tickets of the visitors, but also the boats used for the research at sea and the guided tours to illustrious guests who contributed with their donations. And it was his friend Krupp who financed the third edifice of the complex on the seafront.

On the other hand, the researchers who arrived at the Station found a unique welcome, even from the human point of view, which together with the beauty of Naples and the surroundings, made the Neapolitan institution immediately famous and highly sought-after worldwide. Only during Dohrn’s life, over two thousand scholars from all over the world stopped in Naples, in order to carry out their research on Mediterranean fauna and flora. And the majority of these indicated in the period spent in Naples a fundamental experience for the their own scientific career. Over time, the Zoological Station has “collected” twenty Nobel prizes among its guests.

Passionate about music, Dohrn welcomed in Naples apart from the scientists, many of his friends who were musicians. But he did not fail to pay tribute to the other muses as well. It was the founder who requested the frescoes by Hans von Marées which adorn the very rich scientific library. The Sala degli Affreschi (Room of Frescoes), where usually concerts took place, later would inspired Picasso and Paul Klee.

Anton Dohrn died in Naples in 1909, but his work was continued by his son and then by other scholars. This has allowed the Zoological station, which since 1982 is recognised as a Public Autonomous Research Body, to remain at the top of international scientific research and to be included among the most prestigious institutions in Italy.

The Villa comunale

A public walk along the sea. It was in 1692 when the viceroy of that time, Luis Francisco de la Cerda Aragòn, Duke of Medinaceli, had the idea. To make the innovation possible, the Riviera di Chiaia was chosen, where the beach was paved and in order to embellish the new road, fountains were installed and several trees were planted.

The pharmacy of the Incurable and Museum of the Sanitary Arts

An art treasure at the service of science. The historic Pharmacy of the Incurable has been like this since its foundation, an integral part of the complex which included originally the Hospital of Santa Maria del Popolo of the Incurable and the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo, near the upper decumanus, in the heart of Naples. Where five hundred years ago, between 1520 and 1522 the hospital and the church were built on the initiative of a noblewoman Maria Lorenza Longo, who wanted to contribute to the care of several patients suffering from syphilis in the city. The pharmacy arrived a century later, on the occasion of a first renovation of the original edifice, but the final arrangement happened between 1744 and 1750, in place of the Sixteenth century pharmacy, bases on designs by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro, while Bartolomeo Vecchione directed the works with the funds made available by Antonio Maggiocca, one of the regents of the hospital. And soon the pharmacy distinguished itself for the quality it reached in the production of medicinal herbs and for its research activity, appreciated by the scientists of the most varied origins.

Since then, the pharmacy has kept unchanged its characteristics. It consists of the laboratory and the boardroom. In the smaller room, the six floors cabinets with sculpted decorations and all the furnishings, including the central table, are in precious walnut briar, the work by the cabinet maker Agostino Fucito. In the display cases there are phials and ampoules in Murano glass and 420 vases (originally they were 480) of polychrome ceramics with biblical and allegorical scenes by Lorenzo Salandra and Donato Massa, the author of the famous majolica cloister of Santa Chiara, who also created the precious floor of the pharamcy. The recent restoration has brought back to its place, on the ceiling of the boardroom, the 1750 painting also by Pietro Bardellino representing Machaon healing a wounded warrior.

The pharmacy is part of the Museum of the Sanitary Arts, which also includes the areas of the former Convent of the Converted, where ancient decorations are exhibited, as well as silverware, sanitary tools and historical documents. The Doctors Garden (Orto dei Medici), where the medicinal plants used in the past have been reintroduced, in addition to the courtyard with two fountains, the stairways and the “pozzo dei pazzi” (“the well of the mad”). The church of Santa Maria del Popolo is a must-see, with a single hall and chapels (the Montalto Chapel is of particular value), with Baroque stuccos and marble decorations on the altars. Near the main one, there is a Renaissance funeral monument by Giovanni da Nola. In the church you can see seventeenth-eighteenth-century frescoes by Agostino BeltranoGiuliano BugiardiniMarco CardiscoFrancesco De MuraMarco PinoCarlo Sellitto and Giovanni Battista De Rossi, who is also the author of the frescoes of the sacristy.

The original complex was also formed by the church of Santa Maria dei Bianchi della Giustizia, the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie Maggiore in Caponapoli with the cloister, the Complex of Santa Maria della Consolazione, and the church of Santa Maria di Gerusalemme with the cloister of the convent of the Thirtyt-three.

Villa Floridiana and the Ceramics Museun in the Vomero

Fresh and healthy air, a splendid view of the gulf, as green as the setting of an eighteenth-century villa: there were all the conditions for it to be an ideal holiday residence.

Castel Sant’Elmo

From the top of the Vomero Hill, Castel Sant’Elmo dominates the whole city and represents an ideal observation point of its entire gulf.

ROCCAGLORIOSA – Due musei per la città della principessa Fistelia

Aveva solo venticinque anni quando la vita la abbandonò. In suo onore fu costruita una grande tomba, come era d’uso fra le famiglie nobili e ricche della comunità, dove un letto di pietra accolse le sue spoglie.

The Vergilian Park in Piedigrotta

Only a vowel changes in the adjective but the reference fo the poet Virgil remains in both cases, but the Vergilian Park should not be confused with the Virgilian one, already Park of the Remembrance.

Castel Capuano

Overlooking the central Via dei Tribunali, behind Porta Capuana, access to the road connecting with the ancient Capua,  Castel Capuano, apart from the evocative name of its original function, is commonly assimilated to one of the several palaces of the historic centre of Naples, courthouse of the city. This explains the reason why it has been the city’s courthouse for centuries.

Donnaregina Museum of Contemporary Art - Madre Museum

In the central district of San Lorenzo, in Via Settembrini, the Museum of contemporary art, well-known with the acronym “Madre”, is identified with the historic Donnaregina Palace,

edified in the eighteenth century on a section of the ancient city walls of the 5th and 6th centuries, which is visible in the ticket office area, with modifications dating back to the Nineteenth century. The name derives from the monastery of Santa Maria Donnaregina. The building has been acquired in 2004 by the Region in order to use it as an exhibition space for the first regional museum of contemporary art and for that purpose, before the opening to the public in 2007, it has been subjected to a restyling consisting also in the expansion of the exhibition space curated by the Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza. The exhibition area occupies 2660 square meters, the rest of the complex houses different services to the public, a bookshop, a library, educational laboratories and an auditorium.

The exhibition area is developed on two floors. On the first floor, there are works by Luciano Fabro, Francesco Clemente, Jeff Koons, Mimmo Paladino, Anish Kapoor, Jannis Kounellis, Giulio Paolini, Rebecca Horn, Sol Lewitt, Richard Serra and Richard Long. On the second floor, we can see the workS of the twentieth-century great masters, on loan to the museum: Burri, Warhol, Schifano, Kiefer, Fontana. 

The terrace on the fourth floor, “monitored” by the sculpture of a horse by Mimmo Paladino, offers a magnificent view of the city.

The Virgilian Park in Posillipo

At the beginning, when it was opened to the public in 1931, it was called "Parco della Vittoria" (the "Victory Park") or "della Bellezza" ("of the Beauty"), and then became Park of Remembrance in honor of the fallen of the First World War.

Castel dell’Ovo

The history of Castel dell’Ovo (literally "Egg Castle") cannot be separated from the one of the islet of yellow tuff near the coastline called Megaride, where according to the myth, te siren Parthenope is buried.

Zevallos Stigliano Palace

A seventeenth-century Palace which alone is already an art work. In Via Toledo, so in the heart of Naples which in every corner offers new reasons of interest. And an art work collection that, although is only a small part of the masterpieces that have passed through those rooms, makes of the Art Gallery of the Zevallos Stigliano Palace an unmissable stop in the city of Parthenope,

Cosimo Fanzago’s work, requested by the Spanish nobles Zevallos, Dukes of Ostuni, the palace was built between 1637 and 1639. It was in 1653 that the property was acquired by a rich Flemish, Jan van der Eynd, who was a merchant and art collector. His son Ferdinand, who obtained the title of Marquis of Castelnuovo from the king of Spain after having married a member of the Piccolimini family, in collaboration with another collector and very active Flemish sponsor in Naples, Gaspar Roomer, he gave origin to an extraordinary art collection, with works by the best European artists of the time. The vicissitudes of the family, which reflected on the fates of the palace, led to the dispersion of that heritage in museums and private residences in various countries. At the end of the 17th century, the palace was enriched with a series of frescoes by Luca Giordano, which disappeared during the alterations of the first half of the nineteenth century, during which the palace was divided between different properties. Then, with the purchase by the Forquet family, they returned to take care of the embellishment of the palace, on which Gennaro Maldarelli and Giuseppe Cammarano worked, also authors of decorations in the Royal Palace and Pignatelli Villa. In 1920 the palace belonged again to a single owner, the Italian Commercial Bank. Since 2007, the Art Gallery is housed on the noble floor of the palace, to which you access by a monumental staircase. Successively there are, according to the decorations characterising them: the Room of Stuccos, the Birds Room, the Pompeian Room and the Room of Fidelity, for the virtue represented on the vault. In those rooms, the 120 works of the collection are housed, and count am absolute masterpiece such as the last work by Caravaggio, the Martyrdom of Saint Ursula from 1610. The other works start from the Neapolitan Seventeenth century to the nineteenth century with the Posilippo School and the Resina School. One the the rooms is dedicated to the sculptures and to the charcoal drawings created between the 19th and the 20th centuries by Vincenzo Gemito.

La chiesa e il monastero di San Gregorio Armeno

Un luogo di silenzio e meditazione. E anche di fascinazione artistica. Che ha dato il nome a una delle più famose strade di Napoli, meta obbligata per chiunque visiti la città: San Gregorio Armeno.

NAPOLI - Palazzo Reale

Il Palazzo Reale è il simbolo della grandezza spagnola e fu costruito, su disegno del grande architetto Domenico Fontana, in un luogo strategico, non lontano dal porto e di fronte a una spianata perfetta per le parate militari e i grandi raduni di popolo. Era il 1600 e due anni prima Fernandez Ruiz de Castro era stato nominato viceré di Napoli da Filippo III.

Saint Martin Charterhouse

Contemporary to the Padula one, the complex of the Charterhouse on the Vomero hill dominating the city is part of the context of Angevin religious patronage and shows the expansion of the Cartusians order into the Kingdom of Naples.

San Gregorio Armeno, the heart of the Neapolitan nativity scene culture

A trip to Naples is not complete if you don't walk through San Gregorio Armeno to choose the shepherds, regardless (mentioning Totò, the famous Neapolitan actor) of the Christmas period, in a dimension – the Decumans one – which is like «a nativity scene within the nativity scene» in a reflection multiplied by the mirrors.

La Chiesa di San Nicola alla Carità in Via Toledo

Passeggiando per Toledo…è il ritornello di una celebre canzone napoletana. Lungo l’affollata arteria partenopea tra rutilanti vetrine, palazzi storici e folla intenta allo shopping, ad attirare l’attenzione è la porta aperta di una chiesa in cui si intravedono delle impalcature di tubi Innocenti.

Capodimonte Museum

The museum on the hill of Capodimonte, established in 1957, boasts a historical origin linked to the birth of the independent Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It was in 1734.

Gaiola underwater park

It is a unicum of extraordinary value for its environmental and historical-archaeological characteristics. Right in front of Posillipo, in the stretch of sea between the village of Marechiaro and Punta Cavallo, the western limit of the bay of Trentaremi, located further north, towards the Phlegraean coast. The underwater park of Gaiola with its 42 hectares of extension is the smallest of the Campania Marine Protected Areas, connected to the Archaeological Park of Posillipo of which it is the natural continuation to the sea. It also includes the ancient Euplea, the island of Gaiola, just fifty meters from the coast, which the work of man separated into two islets connected by a suspension bridge.

An integral part of the Phlegraean volcanic system, the marine park area and the surrounding coast, corresponding to the ancient volcano of Coroglio, were remodeled 15 000 years ago by the great eruption of the Neapolitan Yellow Tufo.

The conformation of the coast differs considerably in correspondence with the two islets: if to the east of them the Posillipo hill slopes gently towards the sea, to the west, around the bay of Trentaremi, high cliffs of yellow tuff rise. That tuff that for many centuries, since the time of the Greeks and then the Romans, was extracted to make building material. This is how the numerous caves that open on the eastern side of the bay were excavated.

That suggestive stretch of coast also became the setting for various seaside villas from the 1st century BC. The bradyseism characterising that area as well as the entire nearby Phlegraean area has led to the submersion of a significant part of the ancient structures. What remains of the rooms of the villas, with the fish ponds and the landings that accompanied them and the nymphaeums, is therefore located between land and sea and represents an important part of the archaeological heritage protected, at sea, by the submerged park and, on land, by the Pausilypon environmental archaeological park between the promontory of Trentaremi and the Gaiola valley. Among the main attractions of the marine and terrestrial parks, to which you can access from the characteristic Seiano Cave, there are the remains of the large villa of Pausilypon, in other words the "place where you respite from worry", of the rich Vedius Pollio, who on his death, in 15 AD became an imperial property and was further expanded. The odeon theatre and the reception areas remain of the ancient property and can be visited, while the maritime structures, the fish ponds and the landing place are protected by the seaside park

On the other hand, both the submerged park and the archaeological park are managed by the Gaiola interdisciplinary study center.

The Marine Protected Area has a variety of natural environments, including those that characterize the Cavallara bank, about 700 meters from the coast line and at a depth of 25 meters. The fractures that open up in the rocky bank create an alternation of brighter and more shady environments, which offer ideal conditions for the life of different animal and plant species. In shady environments, in particular, red algae of the genus Lithophillum is widespread among the sciophilous species and there are also the sponges. The reef features magnificent walls covered with sea daisies and, deeper, yellow gorgonians and leptogorgias. There are also numerous fish species that populate the tunnels, caves and submerged ruins, which are found at low depths: octopuses, white bream, damselfishes and gold fishes. And there are frequent morays, raised by the Romans.

To observe the archaeological remains and the naturalistic beauties of the submerged park, visits are carried out with a glass-bottomed boat. It is possible to snorkel and dive on the shallows of Cavallara and Gaiola.

The Marine Protected Area has zone A of integral reserve between the two islets and the central part of the park, then zone B of general reserve extends all around from Punta Cavallo to Marechiaro.

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